Around the globe, people’s lives have been turned upside down by social distancing measures and even more stringent lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the . Some people are using the isolation to explore new hobbies or finish up long-delayed household projects. My wife is starting an herb garden.
Millions of people are also turning to video games.
Fortnite: Battle Royale and Call of Duty: Warzone. They’re buying games like Nintendo’s new Animal Crossing: New Horizons at record rates. They’re spending more when they download titles on their . And they’re also whiling away an aggregated 10 million more hours each day watching other gamers play online through the streaming site Twitch.tv.like
Much of this has been made possible by game companies spending the past decade building more social features into their titles. Companies have encouraged people to play together online, share their gameplay on Twitch and YouTube, and use games as a digital meeting spot for hanging out or even catching an in-game concert.
Now, with governments locking down cities, states and countries to slow the advance of the coronavirus, these digital social hubs have become the new hangouts of choice.
“People are going to keep eating and entertaining themselves, whether they do it at home or by going out,” said Michael Pachter, a longtime media analyst at Wedbush Securities. “The loss of movie theaters and sporting events as an outlet means more people will turn to Netflix and to games, just like the loss of restaurants means more cooking at home.”
Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons happened to launch in the middle of a global crisis, and people are using the game to weather the storm. It isn’t a typical action-adventure title or puzzle solving head-scratcher. Your goal is to explore a digital island and build up your perfect oasis, with things like a museum, a digital clothing shop for your character and a campsite to hang out with friends.